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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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From lost student to inspired coach

Alyssa Mautz’s journey from professional soccer player to college coach
Chris Swann
A portrait of Texas A&M assistant coach Alyssa Mautz. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)

Alyssa Mautz has walked on Ellis Field’s grass in three roles: a soccer player, a student and now, a coach.

After a rollercoaster start of a professional career that saw her spirit for Aggieland drain, rejoining the A&M soccer program and moving back to College Station resparked her passion for the university.

“I fell in love with this school again,” Mautz said. “It’s not just because of soccer, it’s because of this program, because of the school.”

As a 10-year National Women’s Soccer League veteran for the Chicago Red Stars, the forward earned 142 caps with 85 starts.

In her rookie season, the Aggie soccer alum played for Sky Blue FC in the final year of the Women’s Professional Soccer program which quit operations in 2012. The collapse of the WPS was caused by a lack of resources and an ongoing legal battle with an ex-franchise owner Dan Borislow.

A new opportunity began as Mautz played for the Chicago Red Stars in the Women’s Premier Soccer League Elite, which folded within the year. Not long after the collapse of the WPSL Elite was the start of the NWSL, which has been operating since 2012.

“It was iffy for the first four years,” Mautz said. “It was hit and miss sometimes. ‘Is it going to come back?’ The financials were crazy. It was almost to a point of like is this even doable because we weren’t making anything.”

The Red Stars signed a historic contract in women’s soccer on Jan. 16 with Mallory Swanson earning an estimated $2 million. Mautz played with Swanson for Chicago from 2020-2022, but in the O’Fallon, Missouri native’s first year in the league, she was making only a $6,000 salary.

For the love of the game, it was all worth it,”

— Alyssa Mautz

Her passion for the game was sparked as a kid when she played in a church league, but Mautz did not anticipate soccer bringing her all the opportunities she has had.

Beginning her collegiate soccer career at Saint Louis University and transferring to A&M in 2008, Mautz attended an Aggie soccer youth camp years prior and had A&M on her mind ever since.

“I saw how good [the Aggie soccer players] were and was like ‘I’m not good enough,’” Mautz said.

The forward played at A&M from 2008-2010 and played 67 matches with 21 goals scored. After the 2010 season, she dove into her professional career early. Mautz later returned to Aggieland to finish her education — twice.

“I thought it would be easy to come back to school and be a normal student, but it’s just different,” Mautz said.

Mautz felt lost during her first attempt at returning to classes. She said she felt disconnected from the school and what she envisioned her life to look like.

“I hit pretty much the rock bottom,” Mautz said. “Just left school, just kind of gave up on it and moved down to Tampa and became a nanny.”

The soccer veteran said she prioritized her mental health and was rewarded with another chance at professional soccer. The NWSL emerged from the ashes of WPS and the WPSL Elite. Once Mautz was settled in the new league, she continued her studies, earned her degree then went back to being a full time professional athlete.

As her time in the league went on, Mautz noticed a mindset and priority shift in her teammates as women’s soccer’s popularity increased. She said the drawback of the growth in the sport was the lack of team atmosphere as people began to care more about money and endorsements.

Rory Dames was the head coach of the Red Stars from 2011 until his resignation in 2021. Due to misconduct allegations, Dames and three other coaches have been banned for life from the NWSL as of Jan. 9, 2023.

The final head coach Mautz played under was Chris Petrucelli, who led Chicago from 2022-2023. Already dealing with coming back from her second ACL injury, Mautz had to endure the coaching change. Whereas Dames had instilled confidence in her post-injury play, Petrucelli made her fight harder for her spot and prove herself, Mautz said.

Mautz felt she was playing better but getting less time on the pitch under her new coach. As her role on the team began to change, she said she began to think about what really mattered to her.

“I just wanted to be a leader,” Mautz said. “I just wanted to show the young ones what it was like to be a pro.”

Out of the blue, Mautz got a call from her college head coach G Guerrieri. He informed her about the assistant coaching position at her alma mater. The NWSL veteran didn’t have retirement on her radar at all, she said. After about two days of her tight timeline, Mautz told Guerrieri that she was returning and retired from professional soccer.

“This is a pretty big change,” Mautz said. “Like I’m hanging up the boots, and I haven’t looked back.”

After a successful player career, she has turned to preparing the next generation of professional athletes. Mautz said sophomore defender Carolyn Calzada reminded her most of herself as a player — despite their position difference — with her competitive nature mixed with a light-hearted personality.

Coach Mautz will enter her third season with the Maroon and White this upcoming fall season.

“I’ve been in [the player’s] shoes, and now I’m on the other side,” Mautz said. “I feel like that’s been really cool to see because I never really understood why [the coaching staff] did some things.”

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About the Contributors
Kylie Stoner
Kylie Stoner, Associate Sports Editor
Kylie is a journalism senior from Keller, minoring in communication and sport management. She is the Associate Sports Editor with a passion for women's sports. After graduation, Kylie hopes to pursue a career in sports media or communications.
Chris Swann
Chris Swann, Assistant Photo Editor
Chris is a Journalism junior from Winnsboro, TX. Chris served as the Social Media Manager prior to becoming the Assistant Photo Editor for The Battalion’s photo desk. Before transferring to A&M in the Fall of 2023, Chris spent two years at Tyler Junior College, where he was Photo and Design editor for their student media, The DrumBeat. He is expected to graduate in May of 2026.
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    Laura SequeiraFeb 1, 2024 at 12:39 pm

    Very interesting story. And good for you for persevering in a sport you love. You will be great for up and coming players!